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Nicolas Mazard of Koppert Cress USA:

“Growers didn’t think about added value”

Until a few years ago, growers didn’t think about the added value, according to Nicolas Mazard, General Manager / Partner. “They were looking for ways to grow cheaper, which is thinking from a distributor point of view, and not taking into account what’s important for the retail and the end users.”

A big difference between the American and European markets for the company Koppert Cress has been illustrated in recent times with the launch of microgreens. Although unknown in France, they had already existed in the U.S. for over 10 years, thus, “while in the U.S we were coming with an improvement of an existing product, in Europe it was completely new, and this required very different strategies” says Nicolas Mazard.

The marketing approach has also been heavily shaped by the catering industry, particularly restaurants, which are the company’s main source of revenue. “Most products arrive to restaurants earlier than to retailers, as chefs are usually looking for new items. With already a solid base in food service, 2015 will be the year when we will really be approaching the retail sector,” affirms Nicolas.

In the catering sector, one of the keys for the firm is the promotion of its microgreens not as garnishes, but as fresh condiments. Nicolas states that “we aim to add value to each dish, not just by the look, but mainly by the flavour, which requires a change in mentality.”

Meanwhile, in the retail environment, the goal for Koppert Cress is to approach the market with something that will be different, but also interesting for the end users. According to Nicolas, “superfood can be good, as consumers are really aware of their health, and social media has been helping a lot in this direction.” In this sense, “we want to focus on what we think can become a big hit, so microgreens will make the test drive.”

Another aspect that is really interesting is that, with a similar promotion for all living microgreens, the top-sellers have been the same as in the Netherlands. “This leads you to wonder what makes a successful product. Is it always the flavour? Or aspects such as: can it take the cold well? Will it look good in one week left in walk-in cooler? And many logistics aspects play a role in the freshness,” explains Nicolas.

Koppert Cress is very strong on marketing, with an approach that values the distributor, but with a much stronger focus on what chefs and end users want. “This approach ensures care about aspects such as flavour or organics, as distributors are mostly interested in prices,” says Nicolas.

For more information:
Nicolas Mazard
Tel: (+1) 631 734-8500
[email protected]

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